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Note: First, I have reviewed other audio feature requests posted and they do not appear to duplicate this request. I originally proposed this feature on Chinese Meta SE... but after some time, the admin notes that feature requests will receive proper attention on META SE. Please note that this feature is about the ability to record a short audio snippet (30s) in-line, not an upload (however I would not be adverse to seeing both capabilities)

EDIT: Based on comments, please see my recent edits to help refine this question.

Feature Request: Audio Snippets

Would it be reasonable to add the capability of small audio snippets (recorded in-line, not uploaded) to the Chinese Language SE (CSE) wiki?

The feature might take this form:

Snippets only (no more than 30 seconds long) Able to be embedded similar to image uploads

Implications:

Probably would require an audio recording feature to be efficient

Rationale:

For a language website like CSE wiki, the ability to hear samples of native speech seems to be a no-brainer to me.

Why here:

Other websites provide audio content but no context. A language website wiki seems ideal to house this material as it is highly pertinent to every visitor.

Drawbacks:

The need to not pollute the website wiki with junk.

Argument in favour:

I would argue that the drawbacks are handled using current community mechanism. Technical limitations should be nil as the technology to produce the feature set already exists (see italki.com for example).

Why not Google Translate, SoundCloud, or other tools

Other tools like Google Translate and Sound Cloud have serious drawbacks of their own and make it much harder for CSE visitors to share audio than an embedded audio recorder. Google Translate is getting better but still a far distance from actually translating things correctly.

SoundCloud would require every CSE visitor to open a new account.

Meanwhile the most important aspect of such a tool is to capture the nuances heard from native speakers. This effect cannot be easily reproduced by other tools. Although SoundCloud could do it, the nature of its drawback becomes severe when one considers the possibility of such external websites (outside of CSE) being blocked by different governments. Keeping a tool small and local to CSE would provide fine grained control and encourage participation.

Natural Extension

What seems to me a natural extension of this question is whether such capability belongs on all of the language sites. I think it does, mainly for the same reasons provided above. The ability to learn a language requires interaction with native speakers and trying to learn to speak a language without hearing it can be inefficient.

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  • When you say "wiki" are you talking about tag wikis or the site as a whole? And why would this be preferred over for example linking to a Google Translate page, which already has text-to-speech for many languages, including Chinese? – murgatroid99 Aug 13 '14 at 18:26
  • I do not believe this question is a duplicate. If there are any other reasons for down voting this feature request please advise, so that I can either update the question so that it is valid or remove it if it's not valid. – Tommie C. Aug 13 '14 at 18:45
  • @murgatroid99 - Please see the edits to the question in response to your comment. In short Google Translate is not used by many on CSE. Other options may be blocked in China (or other countries). As a result of these drawbacks, a widget available when posting would allow native language speakers to be heard. – Tommie C. Aug 13 '14 at 18:50
  • Why isn't it a duplicate? You seem to be asking for the same feature. What makes that question asking for sound file uploads different from this question asking for sound file uploads? – murgatroid99 Aug 13 '14 at 18:52
  • @murgatroid99 - It is not a duplicate because the other question is asking for the ability to upload a sound file. I am asking for the ability to record a 30s sound that would be captured using a visitor's microphone. In effect mine is a request for an audio recorder and player, while the other requests are for an audio player. – Tommie C. Aug 13 '14 at 18:55

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